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Outlook 2013: Improving health trends in Oklahoma takes long-term planning

Passing legislation to curb smoking in Oklahoma has been the goal of the state Board of Health for the past year. Health advocates argue that cutting smoking rates in Oklahoma could have a big impact on Oklahoma’s overall health.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: April 28, 2013

Possible vote

Gov. Mary Fallin voiced support for the bill in February during her State of the State address.

After the bill failed to pass through the Legislature, she announced she would lead an initiative petition drive that could bring the smoking law to a vote of the people.

Oklahoma has long had some of the worst health rankings in the nation, with high rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and poor mental health.

Benefit of initiatives

Dr. Murali Krishna, the state Board of Health president, said a number of positive things are happening that could have long-term benefits on the future of the state’s health.

For example, since 2003, more than 1,000 Oklahoma businesses have received the state Health Department’s Certified Healthy Oklahoma award for their efforts to improve employee, customer and community health.

“That has ... what has happened that has been encouraging to me, to see our own city and our own state institute a number of initiatives to get where we need to be individually and collectively,” Krishna said.

Krishna, president of Integris Mental Health, said Oklahoma must do a better job of providing help for people on all levels of health. The mind cannot be healthy without a healthy physical body, and vice versa, he said.

If a person is full of anger, guilt or prolonged grief, the body ages faster, and health deteriorates more rapidly, he said.

“On the contrary, if your mind is in (a) reasonably happy, calm, content state with a sense of acceptance, confidence and calmness, then the opposite happens,” he said.

“The aging process is slowed down. It’s very scientific. It happens in every cell of the body. It’s so helpful in understanding that we’ve got to treat the whole mind and the body in its totality.”

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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